Business entrepreneur Oudi Antebi spent 18 years and 20 years in the high-tech field in the United States before returning to his hometown. Israel To launch Session 42, a music production startup that leverages the rapidly growing power of AI technology globally.
“I was reading about how AI is changing everything, and I decided to start a company focused on creating music and bringing technology and music together,” Antebi says.
“I knew I wanted to use that technology and AI to find the best technology and AI and unlock creativity.”
To realize this vision, Antebi, CEO of Tel Aviv-based Session 42, joined forces with music industry veteran Amit Shine, who serves as the company’s COO, and three Israeli hit record producers Tal Forer, Yinon Yahel and Stav. Berger.
This month, Session 42 released its most ambitious project to date: an AI song duet titled “Kan Le Olam” (“Here Forever”). Track and accompanying video recorded using the magic of technology to recreate the sounds of the late Israeli music legends Zohar Argov (a pioneer of the Mizrahi music arena) and Ofra Haza – dubbed the “Madonna of Israel” in music industry circles – last month, Israel’s 75 dropped in honor of the anniversary. The song instantly became a viral hit.
“I knew we had to start with the families of Zohar Argov and Ofra Haza because of ethical questions,” Antebi says. “I said, let’s decide if that’s what families want to do. So we went to them and said that we have a special song about Israel’s independence and that we want to use these two icons. We told them we wouldn’t release the song unless we did justice to the artist. If they don’t like the song, they can eventually veto it. And they agree.”
It took Argov and Haza about 4 weeks using the AI machine they were working with to learn how to mimic and reproduce their vocals.
“We had to train him,” Antebi says. “There may be musical instruments in the background, and inferring from the artists’ original recordings needed the highest possible sound quality. Next, we used a second AI solution to remove the effects made on the original vocals. Then a third one to let the device learn the vocals of Argov and Haza. We used an artificial intelligence process.”
Written and composed by Forer, Roy Machluf and Ron Biton, Per Antebi’s lasting impact is its blend of a sad sense of nostalgia with cutting-edge technology. And this very much reflects Israel’s social dilemma. A country with thousands of years of cultural and religious history, but also a stronghold of high-tech innovation.
“The voices in the song are unique, extraordinary, and easily recognizable,” says Antebi. “These two artists and their vocals are very nostalgic.”
In real life, Argov and Haza never recorded together. But “Kan Le Olam” was created not to bring these artists together in the hereafter, but as a way to bring the people of Israel together as they celebrate their 75th anniversary.
“It is a classified song between Israel and its people,” Antebi says. “It’s unbelievable that it’s become so popular. It plays in restaurants, on the radio. He always plays on various channels, on every news station. Everyone is talking about it. I knew we’d get attention. But how shocking it was. But I knew what we were doing. I knew we would be the first in the world to release an official song based on AI technology. And we succeeded.”